- Associated Press - Monday, February 17, 2014

SOCHI, Russia (AP) - Defending Olympic champion Yuna Kim of South Korea will skate 17th in a field of 30 in the short program Wednesday at the Sochi Games.

Her main competition for the gold medal, Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia and Mao Asada of Japan, will go 25th and 30th, respectively. Italy’s Carolina Kostner, second in the team short program, skates right after Lipnitskaia.

U.S. champion Gracie Gold drew the 22nd slot Monday, while two-time American champion Ashley Wagner will go 27th. The third American, Polina Edmunds, will skate 12th.

Unlike the old scoring system, there is no real advantage or disadvantage as to where a skater is drawn in the field.

Kim, the 2013 world champion, did not compete in the team event that Russia won behind the spectacular performances of the 15-year-old Lipnitskaia. Asada skated only the short program in the team event and finished third.

Kim took off much of the period between the Vancouver Games and last season, then returned to win the world championship. Kostner was second and Asada third. Lipnitskaia was still a junior skater - she won that world title in 2012 and was second in 2013 to countrywoman Elena Radionova, who did not make the Olympic team.

Gold, of Chicago, came in second to Lipnitskaia in the women’s free skate portion of the team event, in which the United States won a bronze medal. Wagner, of Alexandria, Va., competed in the short program of that event, finishing fourth. Edmunds, from San Jose, Calif., has not competed yet at these games.

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